Kiev – Great Patriotic War Museum

Although the name of this museum refers to the Great Patriotic War, or what we would know as the Second World War, it also covers the wider military history of Ukraine. It’s also located under the dominating figure of the Motherland Statue, which I’ll write about elsewhere.

A display of bullets near to the entrance of the museum which is a slightly sobering introduction to any location. The policy on taking photos in the museum seemed rather unclear to me, so there’s an absence of photos here of the main displays as I didn’t want to get shouted at. However, photography seemed to be tolerated in some areas and some people seemed to ignore the rules anyway. I generally obeyed the rules though….

This was one of the most powerful exhibits to me, which is some old airport signage from Donetsk International Airport. This airport had been restored and renovated in advance of the Euro 2012 football competition, with 1.1 million people travelling from the airport in 2013. Unfortunately the conflict with troops loyal to Russia has seen the airport destroyed, an appalling act of destruction.

A mask used by a Russian military fighter.

Some damaged binoculars from the Second World War. Unfortunately the majority of the exhibits were in Ukrainian only, although a summary in English was placed at the entrance to each room. Given the number of English speaking visitors, I’m sure that the museum will work towards providing better translations, as much of the collection does feel a little inaccessible at the moment.

A look down at some of the military vehicles on the ground floor.

This was a well put together display, a long room which had thousands of photos of soldiers who have died in conflicts. I think it was included in the museum’s no photo zone, so I took a photo of just one edge of it, although it was a stunning sight.

Near to the entrance of the museum is a room which contains figures in wax wearing uniforms from various times in the country’s history. The waxworks were of a really good quality, indeed they actually looked quite realistic and I did take care to check that I wasn’t part of some elaborate prank which was being filmed.

Overall, the museum cost under £1 to enter and so was certainly worth the money for the ninety minutes or so it took to look around. English translations would have made the museum much more interesting for me, but it appears to have been greatly modernised since it was opened by the Soviets.